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Experts blame heavy rains as main cause of August flooding

Date Posted: 2007-12-21

The Asato River in downtown Naha City overflowed its banks in August, flooding dozens of businesses and restaurants, shutting them down.

Irate businessmen charged that bridge construction in the vicinity was the culprit, sending waves of water pouring down the streets and into their shops, but a new conference finding attributes the deluge of rain as the principal culprit. A panel of experts has been studying the scene since the flooding, and has determined “The river flood was maybe because of construction of the bridge side,” but noted that “even if the construction was not there, the Asato River would have flooded because the rainfall was so strong.”

Okinawa Prefecture had made that determination earlier, but businesses rejected the findings, demanding they be compensated for losses to their restaurants and shops. The conference confirms the Prefecture ruling that “the Asato River’s stream of water was too much, and already over the safety flood control level. On that day, the water level was already elevated, with the level of safety being 55 cubic meters of water per second, but the Prefecture determined the water was flowing at double that, 110 cubic meters per second.

Prefecture officials say there was nothing they could do that fateful August day. The decisions were based on computer simulations, and now the Prefecture will go make explanations to area residents. Residents aren’t happy, asking “Why doesn’t the prefecture pay compensation to people who lost their restaurants or shops because of the river flood? Are the residents going to understand the prefecture at all?”

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